Mute Swan (Jakub Puskas)
After arriving in Derby late last night to the sights and sounds of a party city, Russell Spencer and I slipped into our hotel, Cathedral Quarter Hotel, a quite sweet boutique hotel that recently played host to the Queen who apparently popped around for lunch recently. I didn't get to sleep until around 2.30am after watching a TV programme about the existence of UFO's.
In the morning, we met with our co-host Nick Brown (Derbyshire Wildlife Trust) and after a quick breakfast, we were soon walking along the River Derwent in bright sunshine hearing about the wintering Dippers and breeding Grey Wagtails. We met our other host Nick Moyes, who works at the Derby Museum (Derby City Council) outside the impressive Derby Cathedral, home to Derby's famous breeding Peregrines. He took us up the tight spiral stairs to the bell ringers room where the CCTV camera playback screen was housed. We watched amazing footage of the adults bringing in different avian food items, some live some already dead. There was incredible night footage of an adult bringing in a live Woodcock!
We then nipped up onto the roof to enjoy the Derby cityscape. We also peered over the wall to look down on the gargoyles on which the Peregrines dismember their prey. I was surprised to see the carcass of a Dabchick on one of them.
The rest of the day was spent at a couple of sites with particular emphasis on the Pride Park area within the shadow of Derby County's football stadium. But more about that in my forthcoming Bird Watching Magazine article.
Anyway, both Nicks were diamond blokes. They really showed us a good day. Derby is a cool place.